Veronica: Our guest today has a newly released Telepathic Space Pirates novel!
Killers. Thieves. Pirates. Family.
Mercy Kincaid is a fugitive from her own family. Her dangerous telepathic gifts make her a target. So is anyone she gets close to. When her best friend is captured and tortured, Mercy’s only hope is to reunite with the family that tried to murder her as a child. She trusts few among her blood relatives, but finds herself intrigued by an enigmatic and dangerous killer.
Reaper has spent a lifetime watching his people die. He's vowed to kill anyone who jeopardizes their survival. Mercy’s gifts are the biggest threat they’ve faced in eleven years, since a biological weapon nearly annihilated the pirate colonies. But Reaper realizes her talents can either destroy them, or save them. He must decide if he’s fallen victim to her power, or if he can truly trust the beautiful woman and her compelling abilities. If he makes the wrong choice, everyone dies.
“My name is Nikolos. But most people call me Reaper. That’s been my…common name for years. Since I was a child.”
She could understand someone, especially in this place, earning a nickname like that as an adult, but as child? It didn’t fit. “Why?”
Reaper held her gaze for a long moment before replying. Like he was measuring her.
I am part of a unique subset of Talented. His words were back inside her mind, intimate in a way she still wasn’t used to. Yes, I have telepathy and even some telekinesis, but my primary Talent is…different. I look at someone, and see all of the ways in which to kill them. For example, your shields are so poor that a mental assault could stop brain function in 1.3 seconds. However, your body is also not in peak shape. You are malnourished and weaker, physically, that you should be. You wear no armor. I am taller, I outweigh you significantly, and I am trained. I could snap your neck in 2.6 seconds. Those are only the two most efficient methods. His voice was casual throughout the explanation. He looked completely relaxed, as if discussing how he would kill her was as normal to him as discussing what to eat for breakfast.
Mercy stared at him. The lift suddenly felt claustrophobic, and small spaces didn’t typically bother her. She realized she’d backed away from him while he was talking, and now stood pressed against the wall as far from him as she could get. There was literally nowhere to go, trapped inside this small box. The hairs on the back of her neck prickled. He was already inside her mind. That coldness to his presence was no longer something soothing.
Yes. I could kill you instantly, more or less. But as we previously discussed, I have no reason to.
The lift stopped, the door opened, and he walked out. Mercy stayed where she was, remembering how to breathe. Unbidden, a memory surfaced from the space station, when Reaper’s team had assaulted it. They have a Killer, someone had said. The words had sparked a near frenzy of fear in the young girl with Willem Frain, and had spurred him to teleport out, abandoning his plan to kill Mercy.
This was why.
She forced herself to step out of the lift and into the corridor with him. It was like that time she and Atrea had gone zero-g jumping together. It was one of the attractions at Windfall, a vertical shaft through the center of one of the station modules that ran the entire length of the station, approximately eight kilometers. People stood on a tiny ledge looking down a hole so deep you couldn’t see where it ended, and jumped off. Somewhere in the middle of that adrenaline-inducing fall, an operator turned off the gravity generators, and bam, you were weightless, floating. You got to play around for about twenty minutes before they fished you out, and then it was someone else’s turn. But there was that fear, right at the beginning. If something went wrong, you’d hit the bottom.
Mercy felt the same sense of fear now, stepping out of that lift to stand beside Reaper. Taking that step felt exactly like that jump. Free-fall.
He studied her face. Are you rethinking your choice? There are others on this ship who could teach you. People who are not like me.
She probably should have stopped to seriously consider his words, but Mercy found herself smiling wryly. Now that she’d made the jump, her fear faded.
“They’re pirates. Are you telling me these people aren’t violent? That they have never killed anyone?”
No. He looked at her. But it is different for them.
“Maybe. Maybe not.” She lengthened her stride to keep up with him as they walked. “Look, nothing has changed. Out of everyone on this ship, you’ve had ample opportunity to kill me, if that’s what you wanted to do. You haven’t, so I believe that makes you the safest person for me to be around right now.” She paused, then shrugged. “Safer than family, anyway.”
He gave her an odd look, and stopped beside a door.
“What?” she asked.
No one has ever called me “safe” before.
Mercy met his gaze for a long moment before answering. “I’ve spent my entire life running from things. When I was four, I had nightmares about my grandmother trying to kill me. I used to look at every stranger as a potential threat. When you live like that, you learn pretty quickly not to let fear control you. I can be hyper-aware of danger without giving in to being afraid.” She switched to speaking telepathically. What you are is frightening, but I’m used to viewing everyone that way. You have control of it. That control makes you safe.
Reaper smiled, and Mercy caught her breath. He was a striking man, with hard, masculine features and pale blue eyes that seemed to hit her with adrenaline every time he looked at her. But the smile softened his face and added a hint of warmth that made him suddenly approachable. It took striking features and made them compelling. She had the sudden, irrational urge to lean into him, to reach out and touch him. Watching his mouth, she found herself wondering what it would be like to kiss him.
His smile widened as he watched her, and Mercy remembered that he could hear every thought.
Don’t let it go to your head, she told him, ignoring the way her face heated. I just spent weeks thinking I was a dead woman. It’s natural to think of sex after coming back from the brink of death.
Were you thinking of sex? Reaper shocked her by reaching out and taking her hand. The second his fingers brushed her skin, her stomach tightened, and warmth bloomed down the back of her hand, seeming to spread over her entire body in an instant. He pressed her fingers to the door panel. I thought it was just a kiss.
He dropped her hand as the door slid open, and Mercy cradled it against her like it was burned. She glared at him.
“Don’t look so smug. It isn’t attractive.”
He laughed softly, and it was a startling sound coming from someone who usually showed very little emotion. “Liar.”
Buy Link: Amazon
You can find Author Carysa Locke at www.carysalocke.com